Exclusive: Valentina Shevchenko Says Same Referee Prevented Her From Dominating Alexa Grasso And Taila Santos

"Bullet" opened up about the referee's weird calls during her title fight with Grasso and Santos.

Valentina Shevchenko
Valentina Shevchenko - Image Credit @Bulletvalentina Instagram
  • Valentina Shevchenko couldn’t understand why referee Jason Herzog stopped her from dominating Alexa Grasso and Taila Santos
  • “Bullet” wants a rematch with Grasso and prove that she is one of the greatest fighters of all time

Alexa Grasso may have shocked the fans at UFC 285 but now former UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko was not. Instead, what got “Bullet” baffled was the referee’s decision to stop her when the fight was already going her way.

Weird calls

In an exclusive interview with MiddleEasy, Shevchenko candidly said nothing about Grasso surprised her and the only thing that she found weird in the fight was when the referee in charge, Jason Herzog, ordered them to get back on the feet while she was clearly dominating.

“Nothing [surprised me about Grasso]. Nothing anything like extraordinary because you know me, I take all my opponents very seriously I think even sometimes [I] overthink about them giving, them even more credit than what they kind of like, could have but no and actually I have under control all the situations the only things what I was surprised, but not Alex Grasso, but the action of referee,” Shevchenko explained.

“This is what I was surprised a little bit like for example in the third round, why he stood up in my favorable position when I was on top and [in] control position, dominating, landing to big shots and he like suddenly decided, ‘No this is a not the place where I want to fight to see so you better guys go stand up and fight’,” she continued.

What made it even more suspicious, Shevchenko said it was also Herzog that officiated her title fight with Taila Santos at UFC 275. In that fight, “Bullet” slipped with a split decision victory but the outcome would’ve been different had the referee had not stop her from dominating Santos on the ground.

“It was already for the second time and it’s very hard for me to understand why his action was like that because he was a referee on my previous fight against Taila Santos and there was similar situation when it was my combination sort of first round and after I land very heavy head kick and I felt it shaked her very badly and I felt this is a moment to continue my attack and finish the fight, but in this moment he stops the fight and kind of like pretended there was some like um groin kicks but it was not clear and I was like,’Okay, this is might be just like occasions, just situation but after what happened like on the fight I said like, ‘Okay, this is weird.’ I don’t understand the action because you know it could affect like the performance of the fighter,” the former champ added.

“This is the most what I would say surprised me but if your question was about Alexa, no, there was nothing that surprised me,” she concluded.

Valentina wants to be the best

Shevchenko defended her flyweight belt seven times before being dethroned by Grasso and will go down as one of the greatest female fighters of all time. She wants to beat Grasso but reclaiming her title also means a lot to her as it serves as “proof” that she is one of the best ever.

“For me, it’s all one. It’s about opportunities and the champion. It’s all tied together. I’m not the person who is like tied to a object… For me, the most important is to be the best [the title] it’s like a proof… Definitely, it means a lot for me to make um everything right this time,” Shevchenko pointed out.

Shevchenko is yet to get the nod from the UFC for a rematch but she is keen to run it back with Grasso sooner rather than later.

Published on March 28, 2023 at 12:21 pm
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